Over the past Legislative session, a lot of interesting legislation was decided on, and unfortunately I am just now getting around to talking about it! To make amends for this incredible travesty, I thought that I would dedicate this post to a legislative recap of my experiences during this last session.
Medicaid Work Requirements:
On June 6, Michigan’s Legislature passed a bill that asks the federal government to let it, as of Jan. 1, 2020, require able-bodied adult Medicaid recipients under the Healthy Michigan plan to work, look for work, volunteer or be in training or in school, for 80 hours each month, unless they are otherwise exempt, or risk losing their benefits. This was a decision that our office did not agree with, and that was highly contested. However, due to the majority Republican make-up of the House, it passed.
Also on June 6, the Michigan House repealed Prevailing Wage. Prevailing Wage is a minimum hourly wage that must be paid to contractors, mechanics, laborers, etc., doing government projects. By repealing this, the government is able to pay less, and unlicensed or not as reputable workers are able to take the jobs that would normally go to skilled or licensed workers. This could potentially cause problems down the road of having to redo projects, wasted government funds, and an overall loss of income for a lot of workers. This was also contested by our office, especially due to the fact that Tom greatly supports unions and union workers. This also passed due to the same reasons as the Medicaid Work Requirements.
Recreational Marijuana Use:
Recreational Marijuana use in Michigan was almost decided on June 5th. If the bill had gone through both the House and the Senate, the legalization of recreational marijuana would be kept in legislative hands. This was contested by both the Democrats and the Republicans, as this would have allowed the legislature to then go back and amend the bill to include other regulations for businesses and personal use. Fortunately though, the bill was not voted on, and moved to the ballot to be voted on by the state in November. This way, the community can decide for themselves.
Other than these legislative (defeats? victories?), I witnessed the passing of bills to commemorate days of the month as special holidays, introductions of guests to the House of Representatives, etc. And even though not all of these experiences were absolutely thrilling, I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience local legislation in action, and to hear directly from constituents about their take on the legislation. not many people pay close attention to their local government, myself included, but working here at the legislature has made me realize how much change happens outside of D.C.
It’s important to gaze towards the horizon, but don’t forget to occasionally glance into your own backyard!